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Countries > France France Flag
Products   13 products specific to France are available in 2 categories.


Languages   9 languages are spoken in France. We have 2238 products available for those languages.


Capital: Paris
Population: 58,172,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
France Map

Geography

Location: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain

Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 2 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 547,030 sq km
land : 545,630 sq km
water: 1,400 sq km
note: includes only metropolitan France, but excludes the overseas administrative divisions

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Colorado

Land boundaries:
total: 2,892.4 km
border countries: Andorra 60 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km

Coastline: 3,427 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone : 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean

Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, fish, timber, zinc, potash

Land use:
arable land: 33%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures : 20%
forests and woodland: 27%
other : 18% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 20,000 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: flooding

Environment - current issues: some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Desertification

Geography - note: largest West European nation; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral

People

Population: 59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.5% (male 5,675,269; female 5,401,661)
15-64 years : 65.2% (male 19,503,556; female 19,479,646)
65 years and over: 16.3% (male 3,948,433; female 5,757,418) (2002 )

Population growth rate: 0.35% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 11.94 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 9.04 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.05 years
male:75.17 years
female: 83.14 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.74 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)
adjective: French

Ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim (North African workers) 1%, unaffiliated 6%

Languages: French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (1980 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form : Republique Francaise
local short form: France

Data code: FR

Government type: republic

National capital: Paris

Administrative divisions: 22 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes
note: metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments; see separate entries for the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion) and the overseas territorial collectivities (Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon)

Dependent areas: Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis and Futuna
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica

Independence: 486 (unified by Clovis)

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 1958, amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992, Amsterdam Treaty in 1996, Treaty of Nice in 2000; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993

Legal system: civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Pierre RAFFARIN (since 7 May 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the suggestion of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed from seven-year term in 2001); election last held 21 April and 5 May 2002 (next to be held, first round NA April 2007, second round NA May 2007); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president
election results: Jacques CHIRAC reelected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Jacques CHIRAC (RPR) 81.96%, Jean-Marie LE PEN (FN) 18.04%

Legislative branch:bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (321 seats - 296 for metropolitan France, 13 for overseas departments and territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve nine-year terms; elected by thirds every three years) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majoritarian system to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 23 September 2001 (next to be held NA September 2004); National Assembly - last held 25 May-1 June 1997 (next to be held, first round 9 June 2002; second round 16 June 2002)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RPR 83, PS 68, UDC 37, DL 35, RDES 16, PCF 16, other 66; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PS 245, RPR 140, UDF 109, PCF 37, PRS 13, MEI 8, MDC 7, LDI-MPF 1, FN 1, various left 9, various right 7

Judicial branch:Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat

Political parties and leaders: Citizens Movement or MdC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; Communist, Republican, and Citizen or CRC (mainly PCF) [leader NA]; Democratic and European Social Rally or RDES (mainly RAD and PRG) [leader NA]; French Communist Party or PCF [Robert HUE]; Generation Ecology [Brice LALONDE]; Independent Ecological Movement or MEI [Antoine WAECHTER]; Left Radical Party or PRG (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG) [Jean-Michel BAYLET]; Liberal-Christian Right [Charles MILLON]; Liberal Democracy or DL (originally Republican Party or PR) [Alain MADELIN]; Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]; Movement of Reformers [Jean-Pierre SOISSON]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; National Republican Movement [Bruno MEGRET]; Popular Party for French Democracy or PPDF [Herve DE CHARETTE]; Radical Party or RP [Francois LOOS]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Michelle ALLIOT-MARIE]; Republicans and Independents or RI (mainly DL) [leader NA]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; The Greens [Dominique VOYNET]; Union for French Democracy or UDF (coalition of DL, CDS, UDF, RP, and other parties) [Francois BAYROU]; Union for the Presidential Majority or UMP [leader NA]; Union of the Center or UDC [leader NA]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Communist-controlled labor union (Confederation Generale du Travail) or CGT, nearly 2.4 million members (claimed); independent labor union or Force Ouvriere, 1 million members (est.); independent white-collar union or Confederation Generale des Cadres, 340,000 members (claimed); National Council of French Employers (Conseil National du Patronat Francais) or CNPF or Patronat; Socialist-leaning labor union (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) or CFDT, about 800,000 members (est.)

International organization participation:ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, FZ, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOVIC, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Francois V. BUJON DE L'ESTANG
chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
FAX : [1] (202) 944-6166
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Howard H. LEACH
embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX : [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the French Tricouleur (Tricolor); the design and colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, and Luxembourg; the official flag for all French dependent areas

Economy

Economy - overview: France is in the midst of transition, from a well-to-do modern economy that featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The Socialist-led government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers, but still retains large stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and remains dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The current government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment, but has done little to reform an overly expensive pension system, rigid labor market, and restrictive bureaucracy that discourage hiring and make the tax burden one of the highest in Europe. In addition to the tax burden, the reduction of the workweek to 35 hours, which is to be extended to small firms in 2002, has drawn criticism for lowering the competitiveness of French businesses. The current economic slowdown has thrown the government's goal of balancing the budget by 2004 off track.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.51 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2.1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $25,400 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 25.7%
services:71% (2000)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total : 26.6 million (2001 est.)
by occupation: services 71%, industry 25%, agriculture 4% (1997)

Unemployment rate: 8.9% (2001 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $210 billion
expenditures: $240 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: steel, machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics, mining, textiles, food processing, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 1.3% (2001)

Electricity - capacity: 102.94 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 513.924 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita:408.514 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish catch of 850,000 metric tons ranks among world's top 20 countries and is all used domestically

Exports:
total value: $293.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, agricultural products, iron and steel products, textiles and clothing
partners: EU 61% (Germany 14%, UK 10%, Spain 9%, Italy 9%, Benelux 8%), US 9% (2000)

Imports:
total value: $292.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: crude oil, machinery and equipment, agricultural products, chemicals, iron and steel products
partners: EU 63% (Germany 17%, Benelux 10%, Italy 9%, UK 8%), US 7% (2000)

Debt - external: $106 billion (1998)

Economic aid:
donor : ODA, $6.3 billion (1997)

Currency: 1 French franc (FRF) =100 centimes; euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 34.86 million (yearend 1998)

Telephone system: highly developed
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive introduction of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries

Radio broadcast stations: AM 41, FM about 3,500 (this figure is an approximation and includes many repeaters), shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios:55.3 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 584 (plus 9,676 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions: 34.8 million (1997)

Transportation

Railways:
total: 31,939 km (operated by French National Railways (SNCF); 14,176 km of SNCF routes are electrified and 12,132 km are double- or multiple-track)
standard gauge: 31,840 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge :99 km 1.000-m gauge (2000 est.)

Highways:
total: 892,900 km
paved : 892,900 km (including 9,900 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1999)

Waterways: 14,932 km; 6,969 km heavily traveled

Pipelines: crude oil 3,059 km; petroleum products 4,487 km; natural gas 24,746 km

Ports and harbors: Bordeaux, Boulogne, Cherbourg, Dijon, Dunkerque, La Pallice, Le Havre, Lyon, Marseille, Mullhouse, Nantes, Paris, Rouen, Saint Nazaire, Saint Malo, Strasbourg

Merchant marine:
total: 49 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,263,691 GRT/1,769,932 DWT ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 4, chemical tanker 9, combination bulk 1, container 3, liquefied gas 3, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 15, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea passenger 4
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 4, chemical tanker 9, combination bulk 1, container 3, liquefied gas 3, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 15, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea passenger 4
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: French Polynesia 2, Greece 1, Japan 1, Norway 1, Sweden 9 (2002 est.)

Airports: 477 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 270
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 96
914 to 1,523 m :75
under 914 m: 56 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 207
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m : 73
under 914 m:131 (2001)

Heliports: 3 (2001)

Military

Military branches: Army (includes Marines), Navy (includes Naval Air), Air Force (includes Air Defense, National Gendarmerie

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 14,534,480 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 12,092,938 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 390,064 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $46.5 billion (2000)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.57% (2002)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; Seychelles claims Tromelin Island; Surinameclaims part of French Guiana; territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Saint Pierre and Miquelon is focus of maritime boundary dispute between Canada and France; in 1992 an arbitration panel awarded the islands an exclusive economic zone area of 12,348 sq km to settle the dispute; claims Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for and consumer of South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin